Offering a distinctive insight into the culture and heritage of Lebanon’s streets is photographer Karim Sakr. An industrial engineer by degree, Sakr picked up the craft twelve years ago while healing from an unfortunate discovery of a brain tumor. Leading to the loss of his eyesight for over two months, Karim regained his vision after surgery. Photography became a form of therapy for Sakr who used the medium intuitively.
Self-taught, and devoted to capturing the vibrant transformation of the city and its people, Sakr joined Beirut Street Photographers (BSP) in 2011. Karim’s involvement with a community of photographers from diverse backgrounds allowed him to develop his skills and connect with like-minded individuals.
Growing up in Ras Beirut, the upscale neighborhood known for its mixed population and its historically prominent families, Karim’s curiosity in his land’s narratives lead him on a journey of discovery. Leaving him with a new perspective of the areas he spent his childhood in, Sakr’s interest in history and photography emerged.
Nostalgic of the era that existed prior to the civil war, Sakr’s work illustrates the cultural, architectural and historical transformations echoed in society. A reflection of his city’s urban landscapes, his photographs create a time capsule of his day to day encounters.
In 2015, Karim won the Photo Med competition. Rewarding him with the opportunity to exhibit his work the following year at Sanary-sur-Mer in France. Gaining exposure, Sakr began to obtain commissioned assignments from multiple agencies.
Developing a collaborative body of work that aimed at preserving the coexisting ambiguity of a country that is gradually losing its heritage. Karim, featured painter Tom Young, installation artists Noor Haydar, and performance artist Nadine Sures, worked alongside one another on the Boustani House a nineteenth-century deserted mansion in Mar Mikhael.
Entitled ‘In Residence,’ the exhibition entailed art from several mediums. Using photography to develop two separate oeuvres simultaneously, Karim’s first series superimposed archival images obtained by the Boustani’s. His second series focused on the four elements and their effects on the destruction of an unmaintained structure. Through his visuals, Sakr was able to transport the viewers into a time that has perished.
At present, a collection of photographs hang on the walls of Salon Beyrouth. Under the name “Big City Life” the pictures are a “blend of street photography, street portraiture, and street architecture.” Says Karim.
Commissioned by the American University of Beirut, Sakr currently is working on portraying “raw” Beirut through its various living rooms. Still ongoing, the series will publish at the end of this year.